Facebook LurkersA new survey of Facebook users revealed a startling statistic that may cause you to review your strategy on the social media platform. It sure gave me pause!

The market research firm Global Web Index found that Facebook users aren’t posting nearly as often as they used to. Rather, they are lurking–visiting the site but not engaging in any posts–and that is a big problem for libraries who rely on social sharing to help spread their message.

The stats were pretty startling to me. Global Web Index found that 66 percent of Facebook users did not post a status in the last quarter, an increase of 16% of users from the same time frame last year. That means that more than two-thirds of Facebook users are just trolling through their feed but not commenting, liking, or sharing. The survey even found a measurable drop in the number of users who share photo posts, which were once considered the ideal posts for shares.

To be clear, Facebook remains the dominant social media site. 65 percent of people who use the internet visit the site daily. They’re just not actively participating anymore.

Why is this happening? Personally,  I think fatigue is to blame. Users are weary of click-bait headlines, cute kitten videos, and the political rants and raves of their friends. There is a lot of content on Facebook and most of it is repetitive, unoriginal, and angry or aggressive. People have gotten really good at scrolling through the feed. They would rather consume content than engage.

Be laser-focused with your Facebook strategy and make sure you are staying “on task.” Try posting less content but make sure that your content is top quality. That may seem counter-intuitive. When marketers learn that the audience is ignoring their content, they tend to start yelling more loudly! But pulling back and being more “quiet” by posting three or less times per day on Facebook is an effective way to combat the noise. Be really particular about what you post.  Make sure every post is driving your overall strategy, whether it’s getting people to physically visit your library or increase the circulation of a particular part of your collection. Leave everything else on the cutting room floor. Facebook is no longer the place to build brand awareness. You need to stand out and to do that, you need to be strategic about showing users what differentiates you from your competition–bookstores and Amazon. Be smart with your text and spend time on your photos and graphics.

Pay attention to insights. What time of day do your posts get the most engagement? If your audience is looking for content after 9 p.m., that’s when you should be posting… even if your physical library building is closed.

Boost your posts. This is a really effective way to stretch budget dollars. If you see a Facebook post that’s organically engaging to users, put some money behind it and boost it to audiences that might not see your page. I don’t have the freedom to do this at my library but I run the Facebook strategy for my church and I do it all the time. It’s amazing what $10-$20 over a few days will do to increase the audience and engagement of a post. And Facebook doesn’t hide the fact that if you boost a post with a few ad dollars, they’ll give a little nudge to everything else you post.

Don’t worry so much about vanity metrics. At this point in the social media game, libraries need to stop worrying about building an audience of thousands of Facebook fans. Focus your energy on motivating the fans you have to action.

How is your library engaging Facebook users? Share your ideas in the comments.  I’d love to hear about your successes in social media!

Subscribe to this blog and you’ll receive an email every time I post. To do that, click on “Follow” button on the bottom left-hand corner of the page. Connect with me on Twitter and Snapchat–it’s where I talk about library marketing! I’m @Webmastergirl. I’m also on LinkedIn, Slideshare,  Instagram and Pinterest. Views in this post are my own and do not represent those of my employer.